“It is a metaphor. Think about a farmer owning an ox, and in an encounter with another farmer’s ox, the first farmer’s ox is injured or killed by the other one’s horns. The man whose ox was gored is owed compensation from the other man. You, as a disinterested observer hearing the story, would probably agree that the second farmer owes the first one the value of the lost ox. But, human nature being what it is, your thinking might be different if it was your ox that was gored.”
– From Aphora website
Local planning boards frequently draw larger audiences than town boards, school boards or other local legislative bodies. Why? It’s because planning boards typically deal with matters affecting local properties and neighborhoods. Your neighbors maintain a lively interest in what you might want to do with your property mainly because of how it might affect their property. They worry that it is their ox that might be gored.
The agenda of last week’s town planning board meeting in Saugerties brought several projects of neighborhood interest to the fore. About 30 Glasco residents were concerned enough about a large proposed flea market on Glasco Turnpike to show up, and many expressed their worries to the planning board. They also got a chance to hear what auctioneer Donny Malone, a tenant of town supervisor Fed Costello’s family, was up to. And land for a connecting road between the close-to-completion Bishop’s Gate subdivision to the Riccardi Elementary School was on the agenda, too.
Carlton Bell’s plans for a suspiciously ample second garage drew more than a handful of Turkey Point Drive neighbors. New houses off Manorville Road were discussed, as was Kim Matthews’ mobile-home park, the soon-to-be 35- unit Pine Hollow Estates.
There were other submissions of great concern to a few neighbors. See whether your ox is being gored. Here’s the rundown:
A place for his toys
Plans for a house with a separate garage on Turkey Point Drive proposed by Carlton Bell drew neighbors to the Saugerties town planning board. They protested the plan and asked that the planners reject it.
The site plan, presented on March 20, shows an attached garage at the house, with a separate 48-foot-by-48-foot second garage. This building is 25 feet high. Neighbors complained this building, 57,500 cubic feet in size, was too large for the neighborhood. It was not really intended to be a private garage at all, but a place to store machinery for Bell’s business, contended Brianne Hamill, one of seven residents at the meeting.
Bell responded that the Scenic Hudson easement on the development stated that no business uses can occur on the property, “enforced by Scenic Hudson, enforced by the town and enforced by the state.”
Architect Paul Jankovitz said Bell was developing his business at a different location, and the Turkey Point site was intended as his home. Jankovitz acknowledged, however, that the garage was “out of character with the rest of the neighborhood.”
After establishing that Bell already had a garage attached to his home, Kevin Acorado questioned the presence of the second garage building shown on the plans. “Mr. Bell has a lot of … toys,” Jankovitz responded. “He needs a place to put all his toys.” Acorado retorted that he too had a lot of toys, but they all fit within his regular garage.
In response to a question from Linda Trummer-Napolitano, Bell said his house was a two-bedroom, 1900-square-foot building. The free-standing garage is 2304 square feet in size.
To improve drainage on the site, Jankovitz said Bell was planning to install a culvert pipe under his driveway and make other improvements.
Hamill, a former judge, concluded with a discussion of the legal definition of an accessory building, the usual definition for a garage. She noted it should not dominate the main building. The garage on Bell’s property would be larger than the main residence. The legal definition of a garage limits it to storage of cars, and even boats would not be included.
Planning board chairman Howard Post said the board would consider the questions raised at the hearing and would possibly come to a decision at the next meeting. That meeting would be open for residents to hear the discussion, but not to speak.
Flea-market proposal draws protests
About 30 Glasco residents who live near a site where a flea market is proposed came out in force to oppose it at the planning board meeting on March 20. Stefan Sanzi of SSGB Properties is proposing a flea market called “Picker’s Paradise” on a 4.9-acre property at 1250 Glasco Turnpike. Neighbors urged the planners to reject the proposal, based on potential noise, traffic and possible trespassing on their property.
The market would offer 110 vendor spaces and would be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., said Charles Wesley of Linework Graphics and Design, which created the site plan of the project. The market would include food vendors and vendor stalls, parking on the site and bathroom facilities, he said. There are buildings for vendor spaces already on the property, he said, and the plans don’t include any new construction or lighting.
Harriet Tomasko, a neighbor, said the increased traffic the market would bring would be hazardous to the many bikers, walkers, horse riders and neighbors along the narrow and winding road. The property already houses a storage facility and car rentals, and the traffic it generates is already causing a hazard, she said. “Our driveway is already used for u-turns, and this would be greatly increased as shoppers change directions.” On her walks, “the Glasco section must be taken with great care because as I’ve mentioned, poor sight lines and narrow shoulders; to add to these conditions on weekends is foolish.” she said. Customers of the storage facility occasionally venture onto neighbors’ properties, especially farms, where they are attracted by the animals. They sometimes leave gates open.
Residents pick up trash along the road every Earth Day, and the large amount already on the read would be greatly increased by food sales and crowds of shoppers if the proposed flea market were improved.
Brian Carmody said he was concerned that if the crowds are larger than anticipated, his adjoining property will become the alternative to the port-a-potties. This has already happened without the additional pressure from a flea market, he said.
Joseph Carmody also questioned the presence of a U-Haul truck franchise on the property, for which Stanzi had not received permission. He disputed Wesley’s contention that the truck rental was an associated business because people using the storage facilities might use them to bring materials to the site, and contended that Sanzi should have sought a separate permit for them.
A number of unregistered vehicles are stored on the site, and the building inspector should check on whether this is an illegal junkyard, one commented.
Wesley, speaking for the owner, said the market would be supervised. Loud noise would be discouraged. “We would not allow loud music or anything like that,” he said.
“How can we be assured that he will be a better neighbor than he has been in the past?” Carmody responded.
Bob Schaff asserted that while the official opening may be 8 a.m. people usually start showing up at markets as early as 6:30. “They will have their vans there, they’re gonna have their RVs there, they’re going to party and I’m going to hear this – and [so will] the rest of my neighbors.”
Stanzi explained that the board would issue a permit for a year, “and if we didn’t live up to [our promises] it wouldn’t be renewed.”
Why would the planning board even consider approving this application in the light of the strong opposition? Post explained that the planning board must apply the law, and is not at liberty to deny a legitimate application. “If it is an allowed usage, we have to consider it,” he said.
In addition to the verbal comments, the board received letters from nine town residents, all opposed to the project. Some of the writers also spoke at the meeting.
The board did not make a decision at the meeting. Residents would be able to attend the next meeting on April 17, Post said. That meeting would not be open to discussion from the audience.
In other business
The board approved, with a number of conditions, HV Contemporary Homes’ proposal to build four houses on 25 acres, serviced by a private road off Manorville Road. Neighbors conceded the proposed houses were beautiful, but expressed concern over possible runoff from impervious roofs and driveways, light pollution from the large picture windows proposed for the houses, the proposed road and a lack of an erosion plan. Chairman Post said a stormwater mitigation plan would be included in final approval.
Planning board member Dan Ellsworth questioned a grade change on the private-access road of eleven or twelve percent within 50 feet. “Any good-sized fire truck is going to drag bottom,” he said. Engineer Jeff Hogan said he had walked the property with Saxton fire chief Terry Valk, who he had said it was safe.
The board approved Donny Malone Auctions’ plan for an auction site in the former Diseano’s or Old Rudy’s Restaurant. The building is owned by the Costello family. Malone rents about half the space.
Surveyor Michael Vetere Jr. said the Malone auction space contains seating for about 30 people, and the available parking was more than ample, as the seven auctions held so far have not drawn a single vehicle! Most of Malone’s business is conducted via the Internet. He has an international following, Vetere explained. While he auctions many items, his main emphasis is fine furniture. Malone said that he has conducted some auctions at the site, but all have been via Internet. Truck pickups are at the rear of the building.
The board voted to approve the application.
The board discussed an additional four mobile-home units in Kim Matthews’s mobile-home park, Pine Hollow Estates. The board also approved the transfer of property from an adjoining lot, bringing the Pine Hollow Estates to 22.2 acres, with 31 units. The additional four units will bring the total to 35 units, which engineer Jeff Hogan said would be the maximum Matthews could fit.
The project still needs county health department approval for a water-line extension and for septic. The board agreed to submit the proposal to the county planning board, a requirement for projects on county or state roads.
The board approved Donald and Theresa Feistamal’s application for a subdivision of a lot of just under half an acre with a house on it from their 19-acre property.
The board approved Brian and Laura Decker’s subdivision of 5.27 acres from their 64.07-acre property for a home for their daughter.
The board approved releasing three previously approved lots in the Timbest development on Route 32. These are the last lots in the development, also known as Bishop’s Gate. In addition, the board approved separating land for a road that would connect Bishop’s Gate with the Riccardi Elementary School. Parents and school officials have expressed concern that there is only one road entry to the school. The subdivision will provide a second egress in case of emergency.
The board approved the transfer of just over four acres from a five-acre lot owned by Steven and Erica Guerin on Blue Mountain Road to their adjoining nine-acre lot, creating lots of one acre and 13 acres. Surveyor Michael Vetere Jr. said the transfer provides a buffer for them.